Screening for novel enzymes for biocatalytic processes: accessing the metagenome as a resource of novel functional sequence space

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2002 Dec;13(6):572-7. doi: 10.1016/s0958-1669(02)00345-2.


Historically, biotechnology has missed up to 99% of existing microbial resources by using traditional screening techniques. Strategies of directly cloning 'environmental DNA' comprising the genetic blueprints of entire microbial consortia (the so-called 'metagenome') provide molecular sequence space that along with ingenious in vitro evolution technologies will act synergistically to bring a maximum of available sequence-space into biocatalytic application.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Catalysis
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Ecosystem*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzymes / isolation & purification*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Genomic Library
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification


  • Enzymes
  • Recombinant Proteins